What Self Defense Weapons are Legal in California

california legal weapons

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As in all states, there are dangerous people in the Golden State, so it’s good to know how you can protect yourself from bodily harm. Below we list Legal Self Defense Weapons for California. The trouble is just knowing what self defense weapons are legal in California.

Luckily, many of the self-defense weapons we’ll name here are non-lethal and are easy to obtain and conceal. You must only use them, as a reasonable person you think you are in imminent danger of being attacked, meaning if you believe another person meant to do you harm.

Not everyone qualifies or or feels comfortable with deadly weapons like firearms or would prefer non-lethal protection.

Household Weapons


We’ll start easy with self-defense weapons you probably have right in your own home.

Some people prefer to carry a pocketknife. You can also carry an umbrella, particularly the long, thick ones with a steel or wooden handle. Aluminum or steel water bottles, especially when filled with liquid, can keep you from threats and harm.

Stun Guns

For the uninitiated, stun guns are non-lethal, non firearms weapons that administer an electric shock to immobilize an attacker. Some states, including California, require you to carry a permit for it if it’s too powerful. Most stun guns don’t require a permit since they are not that powerful.

You can carry a stun gun for self-defense purposes like a keychain or put it in your pocket for fast, easy use. However, you cannot use a stun gun if you have a previous felony conviction on record.


Personal Alarms

When it comes to self defense, we often think of knives, pepper spray, or even an old-fashioned punch. An alarm, on the other hand, can work just as well when you see a threat or are in imminent danger.

A personal alarm, which you can also carry on a keychain, makes a noise over 100 decibels, alerting people nearby to danger. If you cannot cry out or make a lot of noise otherwise, a personal alarm can come in handy. Plus, the sudden noise might startle attackers and dissuade them from attacking.

Pepper Spray

A classic self-defense item, pepper spray is easy to hide and easy to use. You can choose how potent or strong the spray is, but even the mildest potency has powerful effects on threats. Thanks to their small size, you can carry them around your wrist on a keychain.

If you have a felony for the misuse of tear gas weapons or a general felony, you cannot carry pepper spray in any capacity.

Pepperball Guns

Pepperball guns is an option that takes pepper spray to a whole other level. Utilizing the same blinding spray, you can now stun an attacker from a distance. They are a little costly at around $200. However, since some models also come with a flashlight, laser sights, and extra pepper bombs, the price should be worth it.

The pepper bombs in these guns disperse an irritating spray that spreads several feet around your target. Even if you don’t get a direct hit, the irritant still spreads far and gives you a chance to get away.

Again, you cannot carry pepperball guns if you have a felony or a crime involving the misuse of tear gas on record. Otherwise, they are certainly one of the more odd self-defense weapons that are legal in California.


Not everyone carries a flashlight on hand for defense. However, a flashlight provides a loophole in a California law that prohibits regular citizens from carrying batons.

A flashlight is just as heavy as a standard baton but does not count as a baton because it is still a flashlight. Many have stun features for when you are in imminent danger.

Bear in mind that, for once, a keychain-sized item will not make a good defense tool. Ensure that your flashlight is at least 8 to 12 inches long and is either metal or heavy plastic. A plastic flashlight with heavy batteries inside should do the job fine too.

Even better, look into flashlights that have extension straps. You can look them around your wrist and swing them around to get momentum and make a good hit.

Of course, we cannot forget to use the flashlight’s original function. You can stun an attacker with a quick flick of the light or flicking the light on and off.

Mini Tactical Flashlight

Many police officers carry tactical flashlights. They’re distinguishable from regular flashlights thanks to their immense size and blinding strobe effects.

However, because they are so big, they’re not the most practical thing to carry around. A mini tactical flashlight has all a regular-sized tactical flashlight’s features, solving the size problem for regular people.

Folding Knives

Self-defense weapons that are legal in California do not include just any old knife. The only sort of knife that is legal to carry is a folding knife, which you can close and take in your pocket.

Ballistic knives, lipstick case knives, air gauge knives, and others are not legal in California.

For those who aren’t sure what self defense weapons are legal in California, keep in mind that regulations change quite frequently. While currently there are some weapons allowed in the state, there are many that are not, so be aware if you happen to travel as well.